Martin Kaymer looks to end title drought in Kuala Lumpur
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 18/02/16 10:54am
Martin Kaymer hopes a clear head can help him secure a first victory for almost two years in the inaugural Maybank Championship Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.
The former world No 1 has not won since claiming the second of his major titles in the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst, where he led from start to finish just five weeks after doing the same in the Players Championship at Sawgrass.
Kaymer squandered a 10-shot lead in the final round of the Abu Dhabi Championship in 2015 and lost a play-off in the Italian Open later the same season.
The 31-year-old also lost his full playing privileges on the PGA Tour, after failure to qualify for the FedEx Cup play-offs meant he could not play enough events to fulfil the membership criteria.
That at least means more appearances in European Tour events and the world No 36 is hoping to make up for a missed cut in the Dubai Desert Classic with a strong performance at Royal Selangor.
"I've played many times in Malaysia, but this has to be my favourite course here," the Ryder Cup star told a pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday. "It's definitely my kind of course.
"I grew up playing tree-lined courses, so in some ways this place reminds me of home - although it's a little bit warmer here.
"The golf course suits me. I have no reason not to relax and feel happy. You always expect a lot from yourself, but hopefully I can handle that this week.
"I practised hard over the winter, sometimes it pays off straight away and other times it takes longer. The last few years I've managed to get off to a fast start, especially in Abu Dhabi, but this time I've struggled to find my rhythm so I took time off last week and went on holiday and it really helped to clear my head."
Eight of the world's top 50 feature in this week's field, with top seed Danny Willett making his first appearance winning last month's Dubai Desert Classic.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat should be on his honeymoon after marrying his partner Tunyatorn Chaiyarat on Valentine's Day, but instead makes an immediate return to action and tees off alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Darren Clarke.
"I've been staying in contact with my wife on social media," Aphibarnrat said. "She teaches in Thailand, so unfortunately she can't come this week because her students have exams next week.
"I don't want to keep reminding my wife about the fact that we were meant to be on honeymoon this week, because she will get angry with me, but she also understands my work."
Watch the Maybank Championship Malaysia throughout the week live on Sky Sports 4 - your home of golf. Or watch from £6.99 without a contract, on NOW TV